JONESBORO, Ga. (NEXSTAR/AP) — A sheriff’s office in Georgia said Sunday it fired a deputy seen on video repeatedly punching a Black man during a traffic stop.
The deputy was being let go for “excessive use of force,” the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. It did not identify the deputy, but said a criminal investigation has been turned over to the district attorney’s office.
Roderick Walker, 26, was arrested and beaten after Clayton County sheriff’s deputies pulled over the Lyft rideshare vehicle he was riding in Friday with his girlfriend, their 5-month-old child and his stepson for an alleged broken taillight, his attorney, Shean Williams of The Cochran Firm in Atlanta, said Sunday. The deputies asked for Walker’s identification and got upset and demanded he get out of the vehicle when he questioned why they needed it since he wasn’t driving, Williams said.
The subsequent arrest, captured on video by a bystander and shared widely, shows two deputies on top of Walker, one of whom repeatedly punches him. Walker is heard saying “I’m going to die,” and “I can’t breathe.” Williams said his client lost consciousness at least twice during the beating.
“My reaction to the video is that it just shows unfortunately another incident where an African American male’s civil rights have been violated by people and officers and law enforcement who have the duty first to protect and serve,” he said.
Walker was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers and battery. Williams demanded his release on bond.
The sheriff’s office said a court denied bond for Walker because of outstanding warrants, including a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for cruelty to children and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.